That is, of course, Elsa singing - but it's also me letting go of my pre-girl-child ideas about never having polyester princess dress ups in the house. The Frozen bug has bitten hard here. We saw the film a couple of times in the summer holidays, and the YouTube clips and soundtrack have been on high rotation since. M declared that she would be Elsa for Halloween, and I agreed to make a dress, thinking this would give me ages to get it done. But I was getting daily questions about "my Elsa dress" and it's a bit hard for a three year old to understand that Halloween is six months away so, after a trip to Remnant Warehouse to buy lots of polyester spangly stuff, we have an Elsa dress.
I based it on the Ottobre 301A long-sleeve t-shirt pattern, but any long sleeved t-shirt would do. I was heavily inspired by this one that Astrid made, but I couldn't find a white leotard, so instead I traced my t-shirt pattern and drew a sweetheart shape on the front pattern piece and cut it along that line, and then cut the top section in white lycra and the lower section in spangly blue stuff (adding a seam allowances to each piece where they would join). I measured the distance from M's underam to her waist, and cut off the t-shirt there (since the pattern continues down to the hips).
I drew a straight line across the back piece just under the arms, and sewed it the same way, with white at the top and spangles at the bottom. For the back, I gathered some tulle and trapped it in the seam where I joined the top and bottom sections, to form the cape. I cut out a lining piece for the front and back, out of swimwear lining, in case the tule or spangles were scratchy on the inside, and sleeves and a neck band out of the plain white lycra, and then sewed the t-shirt together as usual, with the overlocker. When it was done I added a slightly A-line skirt in the shattered glass Lycra, cut a split in the front (M was very specific about the split) and reinforced it the same way Astrid had, with a circle of fabric.
When M first saw the dress she was pleased that it was finished, but disappointed by the lack of snowflakes. We also had creative differences over whether Elsa's sleeves are white or blue (I say white, she and her brother say blue), and how long the cape should be (she was in favour of it trailing behind her several metres). I wasn't going to do anything about the sleeves or the cape, which is already a bit of a hazard, but I carved a snowflake stamp to print some snowflakes on the tulle cape. They didn't really show up, so I stamped some around the hem of the dress instead. Six year old brother says this is inaccurate, but the girl child is appeased.
I tried to justify the insanity that is hand-carving a snowflake stamp for a 3 year old's princess costume by telling myself it can also be used for decorating Christmas paper and such. The truth is I love all this costume making stuff, and it makes me happy to see M enjoying her dress so much - she has barely taken it off since it was finished. I wonder if she'll still be interested in Elsa when October comes around, or if there will be some new favourite.
Funny but true: when shopping for the fabrics for this - I browsed in a few places before Remnant Warehouse - I kept bumping in to other mothers and grandmothers who were also sewing Elsa dresses in the blue dance fabric section. We would discuss the pros and cons of various spangly fabrics and a-line vs gathered skirts. It seems the shortage of Frozen merchandise has forced lots of people to improvise, which feels a bit subversive and pleases me greatly. Somehow princess costumes don't bother me half as much when they're homemade.
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